Lobster Mac and Cheese

Fall in Love with Lobster Mac and Cheese

Lobster Mac and Cheese

With the rooomaaantic holiday of Valentine’s Day coming up this weekend, you might be looking for a decadent, indulgent, out-of-the-ordinary meal to cook for your special someone (or yourself, I don’t judge). For some reason, my mom would always make lobster for our family on Valentine’s Day, I suppose just because it’s a more “fancy” delicacy than your usual seafood. And I mean, lobster is delicious, so it’s a pretty solid choice! If you aren’t opposed to a truckload of cheese (actually if you are opposed to that I don’t even know why you’re reading this site) alongside your lobster, this could be the recipe for you!

Can’t even lie, this is not my creation, it came from my friends the Neelys. Their lobster mac and cheese is SO good, I don’t even understand it. I think it’s the use of gruyere alongside the white cheddar, plus the sweet paprika and lots of cracked black pepper… oh and the LOBSTER. I’ve made this twice for celebratory dinner occasions and it is a crowd pleaser to the millionth degree. To really kick things up, I like to add extra garlic, extra black/cayenne pepper, and an extra lobster tail for good measure. I also like to par-boil the lobster before adding it to the pasta, although the original recipe tells you to add it just straight up raw. I feel like the texture is better when the lobster is already cooked, but you can choose your own adventure on that one.

And YES, I realize the Neelys have filed for divorce and I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT and the state of their love lives can’t ruin how magical and special this lobster mac & cheese is. The love between the Neelys may be gone, but the love between my mouth and this mac will never be diminished.

Lobster Mac & Cheese

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Baked Swiss and Garlic Dip

Endless Super Bowl: Top 10 Recipes for Your Football Party

Yeah yeah YEAH SONS!!!!! This Sunday is the Super Bowl and the Seahawks are BACK, BABY! Loyal ES readers may remember that I am from Seattle and loooove me some Hawks and made this ultra-handy Super Bowl Snacks for Seahawks Fans last year, and that post still stands because OBVIOUSLY THE SEAHAWKS ARE BACK IN THE ‘BOWL.

(If you want me to stop typing in all caps, SORRY NOT SORRY I CAN’T STOP WON’T STOP because I LOVE THE SUPER BOWLLL)

This year, though, to add to my Seahawks-centric list, I thought I’d share a Top 10 list of general football recipes guaranteed to please any Super Bowl partiers. There is NO shortage of Super Bowl recipes online but these are the tried-and-true snacks we’ve successfully made in the past, and/or new (to us) recipes I’m excited to try this weekend. Need even more inspiration? Take a gander at our Endless Super Bowl Pinterest board.

Big Popper Hot Buffalo Chicken and Bacon Grilled Cheese from Half Baked Harvest

Big Popper Buffalo Chicken Bacon Grilled Cheese

What… even… ARE YOU? Once again, one of my personal favorite food blogs, HBH, comes through with an amazing recipe and gorgeously mouth-watering photos. I want, no, NEED this sandwich in my life.

Baked Garlic & Swiss Dip from Endless Simmer

Baked Swiss and Garlic Dip

I developed this recipe two years ago and it is GOOD. Your breath might smell, but so will everyone else’s, so you’ll be just fine.

Buffalo and Blue Cheese Lil’ Smokies from Inspired by Charm

Buffalo Blue Cheese LIl Smokies

Lil’ smokies are one of Rob’s favorite football snacks (and one of mine, and one of probably most of America, let’s be real…) so obv they’re a Super Bowl staple. The addition of creamy buffalo dipping sauce and blue cheese inside the “blanket” ?! A stroke of genius.

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Crab Rangoon Crock Pot Dip

Ultimate Crab Rangoon Dip with Wonton Chips

Crab Rangoon Crock Pot Dip

We threw a holiday party last night and I wanted to make something a little different, and also wanted to use my new-ish crock pot so I wouldn’t have to stand over the stove while we had people over. While brainstorming about my favorite drunk foods, I realized I wanted to make crab rangoon, or even easier, reverse crab rangoon aka a crab rangoon dip. (If dip counts as “reverse,” not sure, you know what I mean.)

A quick search on the ol’ internet taught me that I was not the first person to think of a crab rangoon dip, but a lot of the recipes from Pinterest just seemed a little basic (in the purest sense of the word). Crab, cream cheese, basically done. I attempted to elevate mine to the next level by incorporating more Asian ingredients and baking my own wonton chips, which is actually incredibly easy. This dip was devoured at my party. It’s perfect for a big gathering of boozy friends, say, your own holiday or new year’s party?

Ultimate Crab Rangoon Dip with Wonton Chips

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Roasted Vegetable Pappardelle

Roasted Fall Vegetable Superfood Pesto Pasta

Roasted Vegetable Pappardelle

When I cook pasta at home, I want to make it count. Only high quality noodles, toppings and sauce full of delicious flavors and textures, and obviously we’re going to need plenty of cheese.

I don’t normally like to buy ready-made stuff (cheating!), but pasta is an exception – I’m not trying to make from-scratch noodles at home on a regular basis, ain’t got time for that life. Three Bridges recently sent us a package of fresh pasta to sample, and I was intrigued because they’re a convenience brand BUT also focused on health, quality, freshness AND eco-friendly food products, right up my alley. I couldn’t resist whipping up a spectacular carb-filled celebration of my favorite seasonal vegetables.

Roasted Fall Vegetable Superfood Pesto Pasta

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Lobster Black Bean Spring Rolls 2

Ultimate Island Food: Lobster & Black Bean Spring Rolls

Lobster Black Bean Spring Rolls 1

Lobster Black Bean Spring Rolls 2

Irie’s Island Food in Port Aransas (part of the Texas Gulf Coast) is the BEST ON THE ISLAND. Hands down. Everything they make is absolutely delicious, vibrant, and as from-scratch as possible. It doesn’t hurt that they’re walking distance from the ocean (read: absurdly fresh seafood).

One of my favorite things I tried there? Lobster and black bean spring rolls. Might sound like a weird combination, but it WORKED. Flaky spring roll wrappers are stuffed with fresh lobster, lots of black beans, and jack cheese, then deep fried and served incredibly hot. These guys are gigantic, too – one spring roll is equivalent to about 2-3 you’d get in your average Chinese takeout order. And you get three per order, so basically the amount of nine spring rolls. You could feed 3-4 people here, but obviously Rob and I split the entire order. Irie’s spring rolls also come with an array of bright, flavorful, also from-scratch dipping sauces (Golden Dragon was my #1) and some fresh slaw.

Irie’s is only open morning to mid-afternoon, and they often run out of their most popular seafood items. Our solution? Although maybe not traditional breakfast fare, we wolfed down these lobster spring rolls as our breakfast appetizer. Best breakfast ever, I’d say.

If you don’t live near the Texas coast, you could easily duplicate these at home – the rolls, at least. Just get some spring roll skins and stuff them with your favorite seafood (obv lobster is the top choice), black beans, and melty cheese, then fry those babies up. The dipping sauces would be harder to copy… me, I’ll probably just start planning another island getaway to Irie’s soon. I seriously think about how good it was all the time. It’s creepy.

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Pile of Nachos Lavaca St Grill

Food Porn of the Day: Nacho Mountain

Pile of Nachos Lavaca St Grill

When we ordered “nachos” at Lavaca Street bar IN AUSTIN, I didn’t realize that meant “a giant metal sheet pan filled to the brim with freshly fried tortilla chips smothered in both queso fresco and hot melted queso, spicy black beans, sour cream, fresh pico, and tons of jalapenos.” Really the giant sheet pan aspect and the combination of fresh cheese plus hot queso made these a shocking success. Plus the SHEER SIZE. This is like ten pounds of nacho.

Nacho Mountain

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Endless Pairings: Negra Modelo

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Mexican beer and fall-themed food. The perfect complement? Well, that’s what were determined to find out when Negra Modelo sent us a “pairing kit” to put it to the test. When presented with the opportunity to taste test, my answer is almost always yes. Negra Modelo sent us a box full of spices from The Spice House, two tulip glasses, a wooden cutting board, and a $50 Visa gift card to purchase the goods. Challenge accepted. Think of it as the at-home version of Chopped. Being seasonal food fans (mainly fall), we began planning a menu of fall foods that would highlight the spices (follow The Spice House recommendations) and pair well with a Vienna (dark) lager. Yes – a European beer style from Mexico. Here’s the menu:

  • Aged Cabot Cheese with apples, fig jam, balsamic glaze, and crostini
  • Spiced roasted brussels sprouts
  • Sweet potato puree with nutmeg and cinnamon
  • Ribeye steak with Quebec beef spice
  • Cornish Hen with bicentennial seasoning
  • Pork with bavarian style seasoning

We had a friend over and made a beer pairing tasting menu. Negra Modelo was served with the appetizer, followed by a taste of each protein with the sides. The beer and food was judged based on the flavor of each, whether the spices complemented the food, and if the beer paired well with each “course.” On to the tasting notes:

Negra Modelo (ABV: 5.4%)

Appearance: Dark caramel with a red hue

Aroma: Sweet scents with subtle scents of toast

Taste: Sweet malts give caramel flavor, biscuit flavor with light herbal and earthy tastes

Mouthfeel: Clean and crisp with lingering sweetness

Overall: A pleasant surprise, Negra Modelo provides more character than expected. While it is an InBev beer, I can forgive that if the brew offers some flavor. For a lager from Mexico, it offers the basic profile of a lager with extra sweetness of caramel and a toasty flavor as well. Tastes like it would pair well with fall foods. So here we go!

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